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Save your energy: Don't argue about bills

Sarah Scrivener, Smart Energy Expert at British Gas, shares her top ten tips for students to keep a shared house energy-efficient
By Ben Lobel on Oct 1st, 2016   @freelotteriesuk

With the average UK household now spending over £1,000 on gas and electricity every year, energy bills can often be a point of contention in student households.

As students across the country head back to university, British Gas reveals handy hints and life hacks for both saving money on energy bills and avoiding the common arguments over long showers or switching lights off.

Sarah Scrivener, Smart Energy Expert at British Gas, shares her top ten tips for students to keep a shared house energy-efficient:

1. Ditch the tumble dryer. Running it for just 24 minutes uses 1kWh of electricity, meaning it’s one of the most energy-consuming appliances when it comes to washing and cleaning. Drying clothes on the line can save up to £70 per year.

2. Keep showers to 10 minutes, or invest in a shower monitor to keep an eye on how much hot water you’re using.

3. Unplug the TV, straighteners and even the PS4 when leaving the house for extended periods of time, particularly when going away over the summer holidays. It may seem small but the energy used can quickly add up.

4. Get a free smart meter and stop ‘guesstimating’. A smart meter will measure exactly how much gas and electricity is being used in real-time, avoiding over-estimated costs and surprise bills.

5. When cooking pasta or rice, use the kettle to boil water for cooking instead of heating a pan on the stove – it’s quicker and uses less energy.

6. Using the dishwasher can be more energy efficient than washing by hand, saving money as well as time on chores. For cleaning all the dishes and cutlery after those dinner parties, make sure the dishwasher is fully loaded and let it do the rest.

7. Keep radiators clear and avoid putting the sofa in front of the radiator, as it will absorb a lot of the heat, preventing it from warming up the rest of the house.

8. When possible, try to cook food in the microwave rather than in an electric oven. Microwaving food such a jacket potatoes for 10 minutes instead of oven cooking for an hour can save around £2.50 per week, or £130 over a year.

9. Tea and coffee are student staples after endless late nights, so make sure to only boil the water you need. Fill mugs with water first to use as a measuring gauge before pouring into the kettle, ensuring no hot water goes to waste.

10. Use energy-saving light bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs and can save around £50 over the bulb’s lifetime, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Sarah adds: 'The beginning of term is the perfect time to get into good habits for saving energy around the house, and getting everyone in the house to follow these tips is sure way to avoid arguments and give everyone a bit more to spend each month. It’s worth asking your landlord if you can get a smart meter installed so that you can see exactly how much energy you’re using throughout your house at any given time and avoid being hit with an unexpected bill.'

For more advice on how to save energy around the house, take a look at British Gas’ tips here. To find out more about British Gas smart meters visit here.